According to a report on Vanguard, Nigeria spends a total of $2 billion annually on importation of agricultural products into the country. This was made known by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi during an inspection tour of rail station from Kaduna to Abuja.
These produce include rice, flour, fish, tomatoe paste, sugar, poultry products such as birds and eggs among others which can be produced locally in the country. Nigeria has an advantage in its population of about 170 million and this will be an advantage is agriculture is given urgent and adequate attention.
Nigeria’s over dependence on oil as the main source of revenue has left other viable sectors redundant or almost non-existent and the minister stressed the importance of diversifying and developing other sectors of the economy especially agriculture.
Major agricultural imports are wheat, rice and sugar. These agric produce come from the US and the EU. The country’s main agricultural exports are cocoa beans, rubber, sesame seeds and cocoa butter. Key agricultural export destinations are the UK, the US, Canada, France and Germany”
“We were known to be exporters of cocoa beans, gum Arabic, groundnuts, cotton, palm oil and many other agricultural commodities, but now, we import most of the agricultural commodities that we can produce because of the neglect of the sector.
The importance of developing the agricultural sector of the economy cannot be over emphasized, it will help the nation achieve an enviable success in its food security objective, increase production capacity, improve rural livelihood of the farmers, job creation and boost foreign exchange earnings among others.
To achieve these feat, government needs to employ various approach such as developing a working policy that will support the entire value chain process involved in agriculture and also employ latest technologies that can help increase production efficiency.